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So many road closures ...

Still a close, muggy morning

Friday, 02 July 2010

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                          Pat Cosgrove and Liam Jones getting their orders

''Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.''

                                                        - Johann von Goethe

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                                                         Theola and Dazinsky

Still a close, muggy morning and no sign of rain yet again. We are now getting to desperation stakes on the Heath with the grass, which is dying for a proper drink. A week of good rain would do everything a power of good.

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                                                     Cornish Beau and Captain Clint

I was hopeful of having a couple of runners today at Haydock and one tomorrow but the hoped-for heavy band of rain has not reached there and the horses will not be running. I talked to several of the jockeys, who had ridden there yesterday and they informed me that the ground was riding very fast, especially in the straight on the new ground they have laid. Very disappointing for all concerned, as I felt we had three good chances.

The same thing happened yesterday at Yarmouth, when we were told the ground was good-to-firm with no jar in it and the straight was to be heavily watered. The actual ground was the firmest that the boys had ridden on all year there and both my three year olds hated every minute of it with the two year old just about got away with it. They will all just be having a little swim today.

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                                               Moon Lightning and Watch Chain

Back to my ten points on racing and, since I started this, I see in yesterday's Racing Post that the BHA have withdrawn over 200 fixtures for 2011 - this must be a good start.

7. Marketing/ New owners - the Maktoum family have single-handedly propped up the market for the last decade or so; there are a few others, who are very game and give it a go but on a much smaller scale. We must have a proper re-adjustment of horse prices both from the buyers and the sellers, as, for far too long, the price of a horse has been completely out of sync. with the returns on the racetrack. So to encourage new people to enter and experience this fantastic sport of ours, which is the best thing anybody can ever do, we must at once introduce minimum values to all races with a minimum of at least £5,000. I can hear everybody up in arms, as to how it could be done but we just need to tell the tracks that either this happens or we will not race - I think the money would be found. A few tracks might go to the wall, a lot of fixtures would be lost but it would start to sort the job out and give the professionals some sort of return.

We need a proper marketing department for British Bloodstock. At the moment, we are a long way behind the Irish in this department and I know money is scarce and that everybody is clamouring for it from every department but there are many new markets out there, especially amongst the emerging economies of the Far East. We need to sell our uniqueness, history and excitement to them, this needs to be done in a professional manner and the personnel need to be the best there is.

8. The Tote - this slumbering giant needs some direction: it needs to be told it is secure for the forseeable future and beyond and that it belongs to racing but is not owned by anybody. The government are then winners with the tax and racing is a winner with the profits. For so long, it has been run with no imagination or drive, maybe through no fault of its own and with the threat of sale hanging over it but it now needs to stand up and be counted - it could do so much to revitalize the industry. I have been saying for the last twenty years that we shuld have Tote terminals in every pub, club, shop, garage, etc. similar to the Lottery and this is what we must aim for. The recent Lottery race in Ireland, which was a great idea and a fantastic success was a case in point; if anybody missed this, the idea was you bought a ticket for 20 euros and were in a draw to win a runner in a race at the Curragh with twenty runners. Everybody who drew a runner got a major prize and the winner won a million euros. What a simple idea, great publicity for racing and it should happen every weekend in England! Why we cannot come up with these ideas ourselves, I do not know! The one thing I do know is that a revitalized Tote with a bomb up it could be and should be fantastic for the industry.

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                                                              Forgotten Army

9. Racing for Change - this has always been to me a complete waste of time and money: bullet races, morning races, decimalization, university clubs and other hair-brained ideas, however thought provoking, are all non-starters. A start and end to the season, starting at the Guineas and ending at a new Champions Day at Ascot is another barmy idea. I do not know who the people are who think up these things and, very similar to any government, they always tell us they are listening to the people and want to consult everybody but, as normal, there is no consultation and, if there is a minor bit, they just take completely no notice. I will give you one example of what should be done but it is still a long way off: I have always thought that the TVs and the big screens at the racecourses, which should be compulsory, are not used correctly, there never seems to be any coordination between them all. There is so much information, which should be shown, including photo finishes and re-runs, which need to be given the fanfares that they deserve. Again, someone with a bit of imagination and ingenuity could really make this side of the racing experience become so much more exciting and encourage the younger element. The younger generation love going racing, you only have to go to York, Chester, Aintree and Newmarket July on Fridays to see that: they are all dressed-up and enjoying themselves at properly run racecourses with food and drink at the right prices and somewhere to sit down, talk and enjoy the spectacle. They are not going to go to mundane weekday fixtures whatever you do.

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                                                                         Old Boy Ted

10. Personalities - within the racing industry, there are so many personalities that are still completey untapped, whether it be trainers, jockeys, owners, stable staff, stall handlers, the racing vicar or even Stewards. We need to search these out and promote them to the wider world. We need new blood with enthusiasm and the interest of the industry as their main concern, rather than themselves. I am sure they are there, we just need to find them and push them forward.